The concept chosen was an updated, botanical theme, inspired by the Szechuan area of China, with a modern twist.
The brief was to add visual appeal and interest to a traditional Chinese Szechuan restaurant in the seaside suburb of Sumner, Christchurch. The 1950s concrete block building has been many businesses over the years, including the Sumner Supermarket up until the early 1980's. Since then, space has operated as various cafes.
It had a rather stark and very simplistic atmosphere and the owners were ready for a fresh, modern, more coherent look throughout. The budget was very tight, really only allowing for some simple changes to the lighting, and creative use of Resene paints. The clients undertook a lot of the work themselves.
The concept chosen was an updated, botanical theme, inspired by the Szechuan area of China, with a modern twist. The Szechuan province of China is renowned for the use of Szechuan pepper in the cuisine of the area. It is also an area famous for its bamboo forests. The pan was to revitalise Miss Peppercorn with a new look, subtly referring to this background history, without it becoming too garish and obvious. Although strong red is a colour traditionally associated with China, the owners of Miss Peppercorn were keen to create a more contemporary, younger vibe for their restaurant.
The aim was to achieve a modern, fresh, botanical vibe that would suit both daytime and evening dining. Use of colour and improved lighting would help to create a comfortable, inviting atmosphere for evening diners, encouraging them to linger, enjoy their delicious food and good conversations with friends. The colours needed to be saturated and rich but not too challenging, to create a sense of embrace, without the space becoming too dark and cave-like.
Painting out the existing white plaster ceiling and steel girders with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Green Meets Blue immediately gave the room a feeling of depth and interest and helped to diffuse the starkness of the existing lighting. Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Ming was the perfect shade to give the walls below a gentle vibrancy and energy.
Making the ceiling a deeper shade helped to hide a few sins from previous makeovers, as well as creating a diffused moodiness. Continuing the same monochromatic theme down the walls with Resene Ming was the ideal way to tie the ceiling into the room and created a great base for the injection of more vibrant accent colours.
Influences from this were then stylistically adapted and reproduced in a hand-painted mural on a large wall in the restaurant. This large-format piece of art was created using a mixture of many Resene colours – Resene Cleopatra, Resene Bi Hoki, Resene Twisted Sister, Resene Salsa, Resene Irresistible, Resene Cabaret, Resene Unwind, Resene Ming, Resene Green Meets Blue – to create depth and realism in the mural. Columns are finished in Resene Nero.
On the wall opposite this painted mural, a framed-picture wall was created, with frames painted using the same strong colours used throughout the rest of the dining room.
With old surfaces to repaint, Resene Sureseal was well used to ready old stained surfaces for repainting.
Stage 2 will involve continuing the use of these vibrant colours throughout the customer bathrooms. Doing this will help to create a link back to the dining area and continue the visual interest for diners during their time at Miss Peppercorn.
This project shows that it is possible to achieve an effective refresh on a very minimal budget.
Client: Nicole and John Zou, Miss Peppercorn Szechuan Restaurant
Interior designer: Tui Short, LivingSpaces Interior Design
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